Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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Appellant appealed the district court's dismissal of his habeas petition as time-barred, seeking a certificate of appealability (COA) from the DC Circuit. Because the petition was plainly time-barred and no jurist of reason could take issue with the procedural ruling by the district court, the court denied his request for a COA without having to reach his constitutional claim. View "Blount v. United States" on Justia Law

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After her move to Treasury was blocked and her contract work with Fannie Mae was terminated, plaintiff filed suit alleging claims under District of Columbia law and, in the alternative, under Bivens. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Bivens claim because the conservatorship over Fannie Mae did not create the type of permanent government control that is required under Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 513 U.S. 374; affirmed summary judgment on her wrongful termination claim and rejected her request to recognize a public policy exception to the at-will doctrine based on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; affirmed summary judgment on her tortious interference with prospective contractual relations claim because she failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact as to any valid business expectancy; affirmed summary judgment on the conspiracy claim because she failed to establish a cognizable underlying tort; and rejected her two discovery challenges. View "Herron v. Fannie Mae" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, the parents of six children, filed suit against the District, alleging that it was violating the "Child Find" requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by failing to provide special education to their children and hundreds of other preschoolers with disabilities. The district court certified the suit as a class action and entered a comprehensive injunction designed to bring the District into compliance with the IDEA. The DC Circuit held that the case was not moot where it remains justiciable under United States Parole Commission v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388 (1980), and where the relation back doctrine applied in this case. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by certifying subclasses pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2). Finally, the court rejected the District's challenges to the injunction, affirming the district court in all respects. View "DL v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit contending that USAID and NOAA violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., by terminating his employment because of his national origin. He also contended that NOAA violated 18 U.S.C. 1001, which criminalizes false statements to the government, by lying about why he was terminated. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claim under section 1001 because the statute did not create a private right of action. The court determined that plaintiff's remaining contentions lacked merit and affirmed, with one modification of the order of dismissal. View "Lee v. USAID" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, the former chair of the United States Parole Commission, alleging that plaintiff's denials of parole were infected by unconstitutional decisionmaking. The district court dismissed the case sua sponte, concluding that parole commissioners were entitled to absolute immunity from such lawsuits. The DC Circuit affirmed on the ground that defendant was entitled to qualified immunity. The court explained that, even under the most generous reading of the complaint, defendant was entitled to qualified immunity as to each of the five claims alleged against him. View "Redmond v. Fulwood, Jr." on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit held that the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's claims against DHS for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. Although plaintiff initiated this administrative exhaustion process for his claims of race discrimination and retaliation when his supervisors denied him leave in 2002, he did not file a formal complaint with DHS's EEO office until 2010. The court explained that such a lengthy and unexplained delay in filing his formal complaint with DHS did not evidence the diligent pursuit of Title VII rights that was required for equitable tolling. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed the complaint. View "Niskey v. Kelly" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the denial of summary judgment to BNA and remanded with directions that the district court grant summary judgment to BNA on plaintiff's defamation claims. Plaintiff was convicted of murdering two U.S. Marshalls, and BNA subsequently summarized plaintiff's mandamus petition in one of its publications. Plaintiff filed suit against BNA for falsely reporting that the sentencing judge had said that plaintiff lacked contrition and believed the murders were justified. The DC Circuit held that the inaccuracy of the report alone does not constitute sufficient evidence of actual malice for plaintiff to overcome summary judgment, and the remaining evidence in the record does not suffice for plaintiff to overcome summary judgment. View "Kahl v. Bureau of National Affairs" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from the parties' dispute over the precise language used in "corrective statements" cigarette manufacturers were ordered to disseminate. The district court's remedy requiring the manufacturers to issue corrective statements complied with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1964(a), because the manufacturers would be impaired in making false and misleading assurances about cigarettes if simultaneously required to tell the truth. In this case, the court held that the modified preambles satisfy RICO. Therefore, the court rejected the manufacturers' argument that the only reason to prefer the government's proposal is to taint manufacturers with implications of past wrongdoing. In regard to the manufacturers' First Amendment challenge, the court concluded that the preamble requirements are reasonably related to the government's interest in preventing deception of consumers. Here, the preambles are confined to purely factual and uncontroversial information, geared toward thwarting prospective efforts by manufacturers to either directly mislead consumers or capitalize on their prior deceptions by continuing to advertise in a manner that builds on consumers' existing misperceptions. In regard to the manufacturers' challenge to the topic descriptions in the preambles to Statements C and D, the court concluded that the manufacturers waived its argument as to Statement D, but the language in Statement C was not previously considered and is indeed backward-looking, because it implies that the manufacturers previously sold and advertised cigarettes in such a way. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part, remanding for further proceedings. View "United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a group of individuals who resolved their misdemeanor charges using the District of Columbia's post-and-forfeit procedure, filed suit challenging the procedure and the statute authorizing it as unconstitutional. The district court dismissed the claims. The court concluded that the post-and-forfeit statute does not deprive arrestees of their procedural due process rights under the Due Process Clause. The court could not say that the post-and-forfeit procedure offends some principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental, and does not transgress any recognized principle of fundamental fairness in operation. The court explained that offering arrestees an option to participate in the voluntary post-and-forfeit procedure does not unfairly deprive any arrestee of an opportunity for a hearing. The court concluded that plaintiffs' vagueness challenge to the post-and-forfeit statute is likewise unavailing. The court explained that the fact that the post-and-forfeit statute gives police the discretion to offer an arrestee an opportunity to post and forfeit does not render the statute unconstitutionally vague. Therefore, the post-and-forfeit statute complies with the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The court affirmed the judgment. View "Kincaid v. Government of the District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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This appeal and cross-appeal relate to the district court's orders releasing video recordings made at Guantanamo Bay, depicting military personnel removing a detainee, Abu Wa'el (Jihad) Dhiab, from his cell, transporting him to a medical unit, and force-feeding him to keep him alive while he was on a hunger strike. The government classified these recordings as "SECRET" because disclosing them could damage the national security, but the district court determined that the public had a constitutional right to view the recordings because the detainee's attorney filed some of them under seal, at which point the recordings became part of the court's record. The government appealed, arguing that the public has no such constitutional right. The Intervenors cross-appealed, arguing that several categories of redactions the court approved prior to public release were too extensive. The court concluded that Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court did not apply to this case and neither the intervenors nor the public at large have a right under the First Amendment to receive properly classified national security information filed in court during the pendency of Dhiab's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The court further explained that, even if the intervenors had a qualified First Amendment right of access to the Dhiab recordings, the court would still reverse the district court's decision, because the government identified multiple ways in which unsealing these recordings would likely impair national security. Because the recordings will remain sealed, the intervenors' cross-appeal about the extent of the redactions was dismissed as moot View "Dhiab v. Trump" on Justia Law